By Daniel Hunter
Hotels across the country were unable to capitalise on the Olympics during July as concerns about the potential impact of the Games discouraged visitors, according to preliminary figures released today by PKF Hotel Consultancy Services.
London hotels saw room rates rise by 17.3% to £177.68 compared with £151.43 in July 2011, but occupancy fell by 14.9% from 92.1% to 78.4% during the same period. This resulted in a 0.2% year-on-year decline in rooms yield from £139.52 to £139.24.
Outside the capital, a 4.0% increase in room rate from £55.95 to £58.20 was more than offset by a 5.7% drop in occupancy to 75.9%, compared with 80.4% in July 2011. Rooms yield consequently declined by 1.9% to £44.15 from £45.01 a year ago.
“We’re not seeing much evidence of an Olympic-inspired uplift from the data just yet," Robert Barnard, partner for Hotel Consultancy Services at PKF, commented.
“But these are still impressive results - occupancy of between 75 and 80% across the UK as a whole is very respectable.
“The room rate increases imposed by some operators will undoubtedly have had an impact on occupancy. However, I suspect that the main drag on performance, particularly in the capital, was the anticipation of problems with transport, overcrowding and high prices before the Games opened at the end of the month.
“We now know that many of these concerns turned out to be unfounded, which is something that the sector will be keen to promote. However, many operators remain understandably cautious about the two-and-a-half week ‘shoulder’ period between the end of the Olympics and the start of the Paralympics, so the August results may turn out to be subdued as well.
“We’ve seen the country’s reputation boosted by what have been widely recognised as amongst the best Olympics in recent history, so I’m confident that the hotel sector will eventually enjoy the benefits of the Games - although probably not until after the last athletes have boarded their planes home.”
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